The Guardian on Dennis Bergkamp

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Football
February 25th, 2004 • 1:09 am

UK newspaper The Guardian has a really nice article paying homage to Arsenal striker Dennis Bergkamp, on the occasion of his 252nd game as a foreign player for a single Premiership club. (The previous record was held by Peter Schmeichel.)

Dennis Bergkamp just oozes class whenever he plays. His inch-perfect passes are an integral part of what makes Arsenal the golden standard in terms of elegance and technique. And his goals are quite often magnificent. Like most Arsenal forwards, he’s not an out-and-out striker, but also a play maker. When you compare the elegance and class of players like Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp to the brute-force approach of players such as Ruud van Nistelrooy, there’s just no contest.

Interestingly, back in 1998 I didn’t know anything about Arsenal and the English Premiership in general. I used to be a football fan in my teens, but lost touch about the 1982 World Cup and the bitter defeat of France in the semi-finals against Germany. My interested was revived by the 1998 World Cup and France’s ultimate victory. Back then, however, all I knew about Dennis Bergkamp is that he was part of the Dutch team. And I remember quite clearly forming a very negative opinion of that team, because of some ugly tackles and what looked like nasty behaviour and constant complaints against referees on the part of several Dutch players, including Bergkamp. Later on, however, I realized that individual identities were somewhat blurred in my mind at the time, and, because of some similar facial traits, I might have confused Bergkamp with one of the DeBoer brothers.

The author of the Guardian article does address the issue of occasional naughtiness on Bergkamp’s part, but he wisely puts it into perspective:

Amid it all, there has never been a whiff of scandal. There have been moments of naughtiness, tending towards spite, with a foot left in here and there. At times, it has been unpleasant but we do not always know the circumstances – whether the opponent had done something off the ball earlier. Players, strikers particularly, do not survive so long without asserting themselves against bullies.

The “elbow” incident last year (against Fulham, I think) was in my opinion greatly exaggerated, for example, because of Arsenal’s disciplinary record. I was outraged, on the other hand, by the behaviour of a team like Bolton, who seemed to almost deliberately injured three Arsenal players in the famous 2-2 draw that probably cost them the title. There have always been a double standard in the media when it comes to Arsenal’s disciplinary record, and this was a clear case of it.

The bottom-line is that Bergkamp is a fantastic player, and it will probably be very hard for Wenger to make a decision regarding the player for the 2004-2005 season.

Comments are closed.

Leave a Reply

Comments are closed.